Let's resolve higher ed's cost and quality issues

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Recently the cost of higher education went up when the cost of student loans went up. Now I read the state schools are going to raise their tuition 3 percent ("Board OKs 3 Percent Tuition Increase," July 10). When will this madness stop? For a country whose students place near the middle of all educated nations this is just plain wrong.

My questions are these: How many hours do professors work in the state's universities? How many classes are taught by teaching assistants? If you take a course led by a TA do you get a break on your tuition? Of course not!

I went to Penn State University in the 1970s and to Duquesne University in the 1980s, and there were some professors whose English I could not understand. Most of the time all they did was tell me to read the book. That is not teaching! A lot of the exams were on the professors' "teaching" in class, not the required $100 textbook. In addition, a lot of the "required" texts were written by the professor himself.

It is time to create a panel of parents, teachers who have really taught (and not just have stayed in the university setting all their lives) and members of Congress who see the decline of America's education. My Accounting 101 class at Penn State was conducted over closed-circuit television. It is hard to learn in that fashion. But I paid full tuition for that ridiculous course.

Pay attention, America, because "higher education" is becoming the way of the rich; the middle class is being squeezed out of a four-year college degree. The poor can get grants, and the rich don't need the money. The middle class needs a break to better their children's education.

ROBERT M. ERNST
Bethel Park


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